Can Women Talk About Shoes and Still be Taken Seriously?

When I lived in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, I took part in a program called “Leadership for Five Seasons.” It was one of those year long programs where young leaders could learn about the community with the intention of discovering the volunteer opportunities they’d love. 

At graduation, we were all given a tag line, and since I was on the planning committee, I helped find one for me that didn’t point out my age. It was:”Jan, she’s never met a pair of shoes she didn’t like.”  Short.  Cute. To the point.

When my tag was announced at our gathering, the guy in front of me snickered, “Gee, that’s real important.”  I remember that jerk’s condescending tone. 

A second shoe story is a memory of a planning meeting of the Tempe Chamber Women’s Council the day we were to select a theme for our upcoming leadership conference. Dawn Hawking, the Chair, wanted the word “journey” in the title, so she asked the group, “What do you need to bring with you when you take a journey?” I blurted out (with no input from my brain) “shoes.”  Everyone laughed, but they all got it.

So we tentatively gravitated to the title, “THE RIGHT SHOES FOR THE JOURNEY.” Why the hesitation? Some thought, and I agreed, that mentioning shoes might make us seem unprofessional, frivolous, fluffy. There might be a man or woman in the crowd whispering, “Gee, that’s real important.” But we selected it anyway, and donated shoes to a charity that assists disadvantaged women who want to wear “the right shoes” for job interviews. (Thus legitimizing our shoe choice.) 

Fast forward to today. I am unapologetically naming my seven-part workshop series: “Sole to Soul: Get Energized to Step Up.” What I know today, is that even though shoes are fun, our shoes “take us where we want to go, and how we want to go,” to repurpose  a John O’Donohue quote.  

You’ll never read this in our marketing materials, but I’ve spent about six weeks developing these 7 workshops that promise to take you from the SOLE of  7 different shoes—their topics and accompanying chapters of Conversations with Well Seasoned Women—to the SOUL of where you are going. Each session is independent, so you can attend one or all 7.

There are three reasons you may want to register for any or all of the SOLE to SOUL workshops:

  1. FUN  You want to enjoy the company and conversations with other women.
  2. A STARTING PLACE  You are in transition and these workshops will help with next steps.
  3. GET ENERGIZED FOR 2023   You feel that the strategies presented, the stories told and your own willingness to participate will guide you to STEP UP with confidence. 

Check out the topics, register and add your voice to the conversations, either in person or on zoom.

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